Packers vs. 49ers score: San Francisco rides Raheem Mostert, stellar defense to Super Bowl 2020

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Packers vs. 49ers score: San Francisco rides Raheem Mostert, stellar defense to Super Bowl 2020

Post by admin » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:15 am

We're going to remember this for a long time as The Raheem Mostert Game. The least heralded of the 49ers' stable of running backs (he's an undrafted free agent who was cut eight times before catching on with San Francisco's practice squad in 2016, and he had 40 career carries before this year), Mostert had a game for the ages on Sunday night -- 29 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-20 win.

He's just the eighth player ever to rush for 200 yards in a playoff game. He's the third to rush for at least four touchdowns. And he's the first to do both. His 220 yards are the second-most in all-time playoff history, behind only Eric Dickerson. They're the most in a single game in the history of the 49ers, period. Regular season or playoffs.

Mostert was so good, so consistently that the rest of the offense barely had to do much of anything. Jimmy Garoppolo -- the 49ers' $137 million quarterback -- threw all of eight passes. He went more than an hour and a half of real time between his sixth and seventh attempts of the game. By the time he threw that seventh pass, Mostert had already crossed the 200-yard mark. The game was all but over.

Of course, the San Francisco defense played a role in that. Dre Greenlaw came up with a huge play on the first possession of the game, stoning Jamaal Williams short of a first down after a swing pass on third-and-3. The Packers will probably regret their decision to punt on fourth-and-1 from the 50-yard line for quite a while. The game essentially ended on the next drive, which was when Mostert really got going.

The Niners sacked Aaron Rodgers three times, picked him off twice, and also recovered one of his fumbles. Don't let his final stat line fool you. This was not a good game for Rodgers. He was 9 of 12 for 65 yards and an interception at halftime, and he'd also fumbled twice. His team was down 27-0 before he ever got anything going, and he piled up some numbers in extended garbage time. Even his best play of the night -- a 65-yard bomb down the right sideline to Davante Adams, who smoked Richard Sherman off the line -- came back around on him, because when he tried to hit a similar pass later in the game, he overthrew Adams and Sherman picked him off to seal the win.

And so, Mostert and the 49ers, and their top-notch defense that is playing at an extremely high level, will meet the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl in two weeks' time. It's a game that'll feature stars on both sides of the ball, two of the league's most inventive offensive minds, and two defenses that have shut down all comers during their postseason runs. This is going to be fun.
Why the 49ers won

Mostly because Raheem Mostert had the game of his life. Mostert had 160 rushing yards and three touchdowns by halftime. Only four other players had ever done that in a full playoff game in the history of the league. By midway through the fourth quarter, Mostert had become the eighth player ever to rush for at least 200 yards in a postseason game, and the third ever to rush for at least four touchdowns in a postseason game. Of course, he is the only one to ever do both of those things. Deebo Samuel made a few plays and the San Francisco defense did plenty, but it was Mostert's night.
Why the Packers lost

A complete inability to stop the run on any level whatsoever and costly mistakes at extremely inopportune times spelled the difference for Green Bay. Tevin Coleman mixed in early and Matt Breida gave Raheem Mostert a breather with one carry, but other than that, Garoppolo just took the snap, turned around, stuck the ball in Mostert's belly, and let him go to work. The few times he didn't, he just flipped it to Samuel on an end-around. And the Packers just couldn't do anything about it.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the Packers dug themselves a hole with a deadly combination of timid decision-making and poor execution. On Green Bay's first drive, the Packers faced fourth-and-1 from the 50-yard line ... and punted. As a heavy underdog on the road, that's inexcusable. Green Bay was down 17-0 by the time they got back into scoring position, at which point Aaron Rodgers promptly fumbled a snap. After the Niners scored again to go up 20-0, Rodgers threw an interception on an apparent miscommunication with wide receiver Allen Lazard. Three plays later, Mostert had his third rushing score and San Francisco had a 27-0 halftime lead.
Turning point

The first two drives of this game were largely uneventful. San Francisco started the game with the ball and ran it three times before punting. The Packers didn't do much better, gaining just one first down before seeing Jamaal Williams tackled a yard short of the first-down marker on a third-and-3 swing pass and then punting the ball back to the Niners even though they had an opportunity to go for a fourth-and-1 from the 50-yard line.

The play made by Dre Greenlaw to get Williams to the ground before he could get a first down may have been the real turning point of the game, but the catalyst for the explosion we saw the rest of the way came a few plays later. Two big gains from Deebo Samuel set San Francisco up inside Green Bay territory, but the Niners followed up Raheem Mostert's six-yard run on first down with a screen pass that lost four yards. All of a sudden, it was third-and-8 from the Green Bay 36-yard line.

And that's when Kyle Shanahan pulled this one out of his magic hat.

That's a Trips Right 21 Trap against a defense playing man coverage across the board, clearly expecting a throw on third-and-long. Instead, the Niners run a trap to the strong side, but because tight end George Kittle is split out wide instead of inline, he's able to run his man out of the play, while Mostert beats two more Green Bay defenders to the edge and gives San Francisco a lead it would never come close to relinquishing.
Highlight play

So, we've talked a lot about Mostert. And he did the heavy lifting. But there was another guy on the San Francisco offense making plays. It was rookie Deebo Samuel, who did it in the air, on the ground, and with his blocking. He was the one with the first big play of the evening for San Fran.

Samuel nearly made a house call on that one, but he got tripped up at the last second. Mostert got the Niners on the board a few plays later, as seen above. But Samuel wasn't done. He led the way with a great block on Mostert's second TD of the game.

Samuel also had two carries for 43 yards on the drive that ended with Mostert's fourth score of the night. That included this 32-yard beauty of an end-around.

He's become a heck of a weapon for the Niners, and he looks like a great pickup in the second round.
What's next

The Packers' season is over. They'll have the No. 30 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. They desperately need to get Davante Adams some help on the perimeter, whether that be in the form of a wide receiver or a tight end. They could also use some help stopping the run, as the Niners showed repeatedly throughout this game.

San Francisco is headed to the Super Bowl for the ninth time in franchise history. The 49ers will take on the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

The Niners and Chiefs make for a fascinating matchup, as San Francisco sports one of the NFL's best run games and will go up against a Kansas City run defense that struggled throughout the season but shut down Derrick Henry in the AFC title game on Sunday. Kansas City, meanwhile, has the NFL's best quarterback (Patrick Mahomes) playing at as high a level as he has ever played. He'll go up against a San Francisco defense that was one of the best in the league all season. It should be incredibly fun.

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